Monday, October 25, 2010

3 Nephi 13: 26-32

3 Nephi 13: 26-32:

"Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;  And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."

Christ illustrates His teaching of how His disciples are to be supported by analogy after analogy. He likens the principle of how His disciple-ministers are to be supported to:

-Fowls of the air, provided for by God.
-Lilies of the field, whose glorious appearance comes from God.
-Grass of the field, which are adorned by natural beauty from God.

Inherent in these analogies is the message that so long as fowls shall fly, this principle ought to be followed. So long as lilies remain on the earth growing wild, this manner of supporting His disciples ought to be followed. So long as grass shall be here, this principle should be followed.

The hopelessness of man's presumed independence from God is stressed in His statement that by taking thought none of us "can add one cubit unto his stature." Our lives are not ours. They belong to Him. We have no independence from Him. We are NOT self-existent beings. We borrow all we are and have from Him. Even, as it turns out, the dust from which we are made belongs to Him. (Mosiah 2: 20-25.)

If God gives us air to breathe, power to exist, the capacity to move, and sustains all of us from moment to moment, then how little faith is required to rely on Him to provide His disciples with food and raiment?

The analogy to Solomon is also telling. "Solomon, in all his glory" is a useful way to think of the greatest man can hope for himself. The glory of Solomon was legendary. The Queen of Sheba came and marveled at what she saw in his court. (1 Kings 10: 1-13.) This was splendor, wealth and power indeed! However, Christ reminds us that these man-made marvels are nothing compared with the beauty He can supply those who are "not of little faith." He can cover a man in glory indeed. Not as the world defines glory, but the real glory. (See D&C 93: 28, 36.)

The purpose of putting a man in such a dependent state before God is not to find out whether God can take care of him. God already knows what a man needs before he should even ask. But the man will, by becoming so dependent upon God, acquire a broken heart and a contrite spirit, always quick to ask, quick to listen, quick to do. Vulnerability makes a man strong in spirit. Security and wealth make a man incorrectly believe in his independence from God.

He wants His disciples to be dependent upon Him. He wants them praying, and then grateful to Him for what He provides. He wants them, in a word, to become holy.

Such a system would be impractical in a post-industrial society like ours, wouldn't it?